Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Julianne Moore On Playing a Troubled Rock Star in 'What Maisie Knew' and Why Acting Doesn't Scare Her

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire May 6, 2013 at 12:42PM

Julianne Moore has played her fair share of troubled mothers over the course of her incredibly prolific and illustrious career, most memorably as the real-life incestuous socialite Barbara Daly Baekeland in "Savage Grace," who was murdered by her own son. Susanna, the rock-star mother she plays in Scott McGehee and David Siegel's heartbreaking modern-day adaption of Henry James' novel "What Maisie Knew," doesn't go to such salacious extremes, but she's no less abusive in the way she subtly manipulates her young girl's burgeoning emotions after being denied sole custody following a bitter battle with her ex-husband (Steve Coogan).
0
What Maisie Knew, Julianne Moore and Alexander Skarsgard

On Vulture they posted an exclusive clip of you performing on stage at Webster Hall two years ago during the shoot of "Maisie."

(Laughs) Oh god!

I didn’t know while watching the movie that you had to perform at a real live concert.

Well we didn’t, I’m sure they’re making it look like that. In the movie when she looks at the video footage, that’s what we shot, we shot that for video footage. We had extras there, but we probably had like 15 people, but they moved them around and made it look like a crowd. So I did perform with a band on stage and we shot it different ways. I guess that’s what they’re. That’s interesting, that’s funny, but that’s the footage. Ahh! Oh god!

Take me back to when you got on stage to perform. Even though it wasn’t a full concert, it must have been a nerve-wracking experience.

It was and I made myself sick too because I wanted to have a cigarette through the whole thing. You can see me sort of singing and smoking. At the beginning of every take you have to have a cigarette -- you have the match right -- so we would always start at the beginning of the song and at the beginning I would light the cigarette. And it was 9 o’clock in the morning and I don’t smoke, I mean I smoked years ago, but I don’t anymore. After a while I was like, "Somebody please light this for me I can’t light them anymore." I was physically sick!

Game Change, Moore

Susanna fits into the long line of challenging characters you've conquered since beginning in the industry. Does anything scare you anymore?

Skiing. It scares me. I’m terrified of skiing -- I don’t do that anymore I quit. I skied for five years, downhill, I hated it every time. I decided I’m not doing it anymore I’m just too scared, it’s not fun for me!

But I make this joke: I always say, "Well people say that you’re being brave as an actor, that means that you must be afraid of doing it." Frankly acting doesn’t scare me because I really enjoy it. Skiing scares me. Those five years that I was trying to ski I felt like I was being brave because every single second I was terrified. I don’t feel that way when I’m acting, I enjoy it. I like it when it’s challenging and sometimes it’s nerve-wracking, like the singing in this was really nerve-wracking and learning how to do it with Pete, that was hard. But I don’t have the same crazy fear about it.

Have you reached a point in your career where when offered a role like Sarah Palin in "Game Change," you go to yourself, "I got this."

No, I don’t think anyone ever feels that way. I think every part’s a challenge and you also never know if you’re going to pull it off. Even in the midst of doing something you might think, "Well I think it’s going to be like this, but it may not work out." You may not be able to manifest it the way you hoped you’d manifest it. I think it’s always a challenge and it’s always in the doing of it too, once it’s done it’s done, you’ve kind of moved on. You’re like, "Well what can I do this time with this character in these circumstances."  It’s never a sure thing.

Are you one to revisit your performances?

No. You know it’s funny I went to see the Andre Gregory movie, the documentary that his wife made about him. It’s called "Andre Gregory: Before and After Dinner." I went to the premiere because I worked with Andre years ago and I love him. There’s a clip in there from "Uncle Vanya on 42nd Street" and I haven’t seen "Vanya," I mean that clip, in 18 years. I was shocked. It was pretty alarming to see that.

This article is related to: Julianne Moore, The Kills, What Maisie Knew, Interviews, interviews, Celebrity, Drama, Sarah Palin







SnagFilms

Watch Over 10,000 Free Movies!

We the Economy: Supply and Dance, Man!

Why is the law of supply and demand so powerful? In this whimsical tale, our friendly narrator guides bored students Jonathan and Kristin through a microeconomic musical extravaganza.

More